Sunset Beach Shells

June 2008 - October 30, 2009

Note: this list is out of date. There is a complete list of the 198 species that I have found at The Shells of Sunset Beach. I will update the lists below as soon as possible. If you have found additional species and can document them, I will be pleased to add them to this list. Jo O'Keefe, May 11, 2010

With three exceptions, during 2008 and in 2009 I found 181 species of mollusks on the eastern point of Sunset Beach. I found the octopi, sea hares and Scotch Bonnets earlier. Beneath the two lists you can read how I found the shells. I have taught many visitors how to find them. Directly below this paragraph is the list prepared by Dr. Harry Lee, a renowned malacologist. Dr. Lee identified almost all of the shells. Photos of many of these species are at The Shells of Sunset Beach, with revised instructions on how to find them. Although photos of some shells are missing, it is unlikely that you would find those unless you become very serious about inspecting sea drift and sea grit. Soon I will add webpages with photos of live mollusks and of associated items such as egg cases.
   

Nucula proxima Say, 1822 Atlantic Nutclam
Nuculana acuta (Conrad, 1831) Pointed Nutclam
Brachidontes exustus (Linnaeus, 1758) Scorched Mussel
Geukensia demissa (Dillwyn, 1817) Ribbed-mussel
Lioberus castanea (Say, 1822) Chestnut Mussel
Modiolus squamosus Beauperthuy, 1967 Southern Horsemussel
Musculus lateralis (Say, 1822) Lateral Mussel
Mytella charruana (d'Orbigny, 1846) Charrua Mussel
Anadara brasiliana (Lamarck, 1819) Incongruous Ark
Anadara floridana (Conrad, 1869) Cut-ribbed Ark
Anadara transversa (Say, 1822) Transverse Ark
Arca imbricata Bruguière, 1789 Mossy Ark
Lunarca ovalis (Bruguière, 1789) Blood Ark
Arcopsis adamsi (Dall, 1886) Cancellate Ark
Noetia ponderosa (Say, 1822) Ponderous Ark
Glycymeris americana (DeFrance, 1826) Giant Bittersweet
Pteria colymbus (Röding, 1798) Atlantic Wing-oyster
Pinctada imbricata Röding, 1798 Atlantic Pearl-oyster
Atrina rigida (John Lightfoot, 1786) Stiff Penshell
Atrina serrata (G. B. Sowerby I, 1825) Sawtooth Penshell
Limaria pellucida (C. B. Adams, 1846) Antillean Fileclam
Argopecten gibbus (Limnaeus, 1758) Atlantic Calico Scallop
Anomia simplex d'Orbigny, 1842 Common Jingle
Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin, 1791) Eastern Oyster
Ostreola equestris (Say, 1834) Crested Oyster
Plicatula gibbosa Lamarck, 1801 Atlantic Kittenpaw
Divalinga quadrisulcata (d'Orbigny, 1842) Cross-hatched Lucine
Parvilucina crenella (Dall, 1901) Many-line Lucine
Diplodonta notata Dall and Simpson, 1901 Marked Diplodon
Chama congregata Conrad, 1833 Corrugate Jewelbox
Aligena elevata (Stimpson, 1851) Eastern Aligena
Lepton lepidum (Say, 1826) Graceful Lepton
Mysella casta (A. E. Verrill and Bush, 1898) Pure Mysella
Mysella species B of Lee (2009)
Mysella species C of Lee (2009)
Pythinella cuneata (A. E. Verrill and Bush, 1898) Cuneate Montacutid
Pleuromeris tridentata (Say, 1826) Threetooth Carditid
Crassinella dupliniana (Dall, 1903) Pointed Crassinella
Crassinella lunulata (Conrad, 1834) Lunate Crassinella
Dinocardium robustum (Lightfoot, 1786) Atlantic Giant Cockle
Laevicardium serratum (Linnaeus, 1758) Eggcockle
Trachycardium egmontianum (Shuttleworth, 1856) Florida Pricklycockle
Trachycardium muricatum (Linnaeus, 1758) Yellow Pricklycockle
Mulinia lateralis (Say, 1822) Dwarf Surfclam
Raeta plicatella (Lamarck, 1818) Channeled Duckclam
Spisula raveneli (Conrad, 1831) Southern Surfclam
Solen viridis Say, 1822 Green Jackknife
Ensis megistus Pilsbry and McGinty, 1943 Minor Jackknife
Angulus sybariticus (Dall, 1881) Sybaritic Tellin
Angulus texanus (Dall, 1900) Texas Tellin
Angulus versicolor (DeKay, 1843) Many-colored Tellin
Eurytellina alternata (Say, 1822) Alternate Tellin
Macoma tenta (Say, 1838) Elongate Macoma
Merisca aequistriata (Say, 1824) Striate Tellin
Scissula iris (Say, 1822) Rainbow Tellin
Strigilla surinamensis Boss, 1972 Surinam Strigilla
Donax parvulus Philippi, 1849 Little Coquina
Donax variabilis Say, 1822 Variable Coquina
Abra aequalis (Say, 1822) Atlantic Abra
Abra lioica (Dall, 1881) Smooth Abra
Cumingia tellinoides (Conrad, 1831) Tellin Semele
Ervilia concentrica (Holmes, 1860) Concentric Ervilia
Semele proficua (Pulteney, 1799) Atlantic Semele
Tagelus plebeius (Lightfoot, 1786) Stout Tagelus
Polymesoda caroliniana (Bosc, 1801) Carolina Marshclam
Chione elevata (Say, 1822) Cross-barred Venus
Dosinia discus (Reeve, 1850) Disk Dosinia
Lirophora latilirata (Conrad, 1841) Imperial Venus
Macrocallista nimbosa (Lightfoot, 1786) Sunray Venus
Mercenaria campechiensis (Gmelin, 1791) Southern Quahog
Mercenaria mercenaria (Linnaeus, 1758) Northern Quahog
Puberella intapurpurea (Conrad, 1849) Lady-in-waiting Venus
Timoclea grus (Holmes, 1858) Gray Pygmy-venus
Petricolaria pholadiformis (Lamarck, 1818) False Angelwing
Paramya subovata (Conrad, 1845) Subovate Softshell
Sphenia dubia (H. C. Lea, 1843) Dubious Sphenia
Caryocorbula barrattiana C. B. Adams, 1852 Truncate Corbula
Caryocorbula contracta Say, 1822 Contracted Corbula
Corbula dietziana C. B. Adams, 1852 Rosy Corbula
Rocellaria stimpsoni (Tryon, 1861) Carolina Gastrochaenid
Cyrtopleura costata (Linnaeus, 1758) Angelwing
Martesia cuneiformis (Say, 1822) Wedge Piddock
Nototeredo knoxi Bartsch, 1917 Foliaceous Shipworm
Lyonsia hyalina hyalina Conrad, 1831 Glassy Lyonsia
Diodora cayenensis (Lamarck, 1822) Cayenne Keyhole Limpet
Calliostoma euglyptum (A. Adams, 1855) Sculptured Topsnail
Skenea sp. aff smithfieldensis (Olsson, 1916)
Litiopa melanostoma Rang, 1829 Sargassum Snail
Cerithium muscarum Say, 1832 Fly-specked Cerith
Cerithium atratum (Born, 1778) Dark Cerith
Vermicularia knorrii (Deshayes, 1843) Florida Wormsnail

Vermicularia spirata (Philippi, 1836) West Indian Wormsnail
Echinolittorina interrupta (Philippi, 1856) Interrupted Periwinkle
Littoraria irrorata (Say, 1822) Marsh Periwinkle
Amnicola species
Littoridinops tenuipes (Couper, 1844) Henscomb Hydrobe
Assiminea succinea (L. Pfeiffer, 1840) Atlantic Assiminea
Circulus texanus (D. Moore, 1965) Texas Vitrinella
Cyclostremiscus pentagonalis (Gabb, 1873) Trilix Vitrinella
Episcynia inornata (d’Orbigny, 1842) Fringed Vitrinella
Teinostoma obtectum Pilsbry and McGinty, 1945 Glossy Vitrinella
Vitrinella helicoidea C. B. Adams, 1850 Helix Vitrinella
Caecum antillarum Carpenter, 1857 Antillean Caecum
Meioceras nitidum (Stimpson, 1851) Little Horn Caecum
Bostrycapulus aculeatus (Gmelin, 1791) Spiny Slippersnail
Calyptraea centralis (Conrad, 1841) Circular Chinese-hat
Crepidula convexa Say, 1822 Convex Slippersnail
Crepidula fornicata (Linnaeus, 1758) Slipper Limpet
Crepidula plana Say, 1822 Eastern White Slippersnail
Neverita duplicata (Say, 1822) Shark Eye
Sigatica carolinensis (Dall, 1889) Carolina Moonsnail
Sigatica semisulcata (Gray, 1839) Semisulcate Moonsnail
Sinum perspectivum (Say, 1831) White Baby Ear
Tectonatica pusilla (Say, 1822) Miniature Moonsnail
Semicassis granulata granulata (Born, 1778) Scotch Bonnet
Seila adamsii (H. C. Lea, 1845) Adams’ Miniature Cerith
Melanella hypsela (A. E. Verrill and Bush, 1900) Sharp Eulima
Epitonium angulatum (Say, 1831) Angulate Wentletrap
Epitonium apiculatum (Dall, 1889) Semismooth Wentletrap
Epitonium cf. albidum (d’Orbigny, 1842) cf. Bladed Wentletrap
Epitonium foliaceicosta (d'Orbigny, 1842) Wrinkled-rib Wentletrap
Epitonium humphreysii (Kiener, 1838) Humphrey’s Wentletrap
Epitonium multistriatum (Say, 1826) Many-ribbed Wentletrap
Epitonium novangliae (Couthouy, 1838) New England Wentletrap
Epitonium occidentale (Nyst, 1871) Fine-ribbed Wentletrap
Epitonium rupicola (Kurtz, 1860) Brown-band Wentletrap
Eupleura caudata (Say, 1822) Thick-lip Drill
Hexaplex fulvescens (G. B. Sowerby II, 1834) Giant Eastern Murex
Stramonita haemastoma floridana (Conrad, 1837) Florida Rocksnail
Urosalpinx cinerea (Say, 1822) Atlantic Oyster Drill
Gemophos tinctus (Conrad, 1846) Tinted Cantharus
Hesperisternia multangula (Philippi, 1848) Ribbed Cantharus
Busycon carica  (Gmelin, 1791) Knobbed Whelk
Busycon sinistrum Hollister, 1958 Lightning Whelk
Busycotypus canaliculatus (Linnaeus, 1758) Channeled Whelk
Busycotypus spiratus (Lamarck, 1818) Pear Whelk
Ilyanassa obsoleta (Say, 1822) Eastern Mudsnail
Ilyanassa trivittata (Say, 1822) Three-line Mudsnail
Nassarius acutus (Say, 1822) Sharp Nassa
Nassarius vibex (Say, 1822) Bruised Nassa
Fasciolaria hunteria (G. Perry, 1811) Eastern Banded Tulip
Fasciolaria tulipa (Linnaeus, 1758) True Tulip
Triplofusus giganteus (Kiener, 1840) Horse Conch
Astyris lunata (Say, 1826) Lunar Dovesnail
Columbella mercatoria (Linnaeus, 1758) West Indian Dovesnail
Costoanachis avara (Say, 1822) Greedy Dovesnail
Costoanachis sertulariarum (d'Orbigny, 1841) Florida Dovesnail
Costoanachis translirata (Ravenel, 1861) Well-ribbed Dovesnail
Parvanachis obesa (C. B. Adams, 1845) Fat Dovesnail
Suturoglypta iontha (Ravenel, 1861) Lineate Dovesnail
Oliva sayana Ravenel, 1834 Lettered Olive
Olivella mutica (Say, 1822) Variable Dwarf Olive
Olivella cf. prefloralia Olsson and Harbison, 1953 cf. Rice Olive
Prunum apicinum (Menke, 1828) Common Atlantic Marginella
Terebra concava (Say, 1826) Concave Auger
Terebra dislocata (Say, 1822) Eastern Auger
Cerodrillia bealiana Schwengel and McGinty, 1942 Beal’s Drillia
Cryoturris dorvilliae (Reeve, 1845) Dorvill’s Mangelia
Kurtziella atrostyla (Tryon, 1884) Brown-tip Mangelia
Nannodiella vespuciana (d’Orbigny, 1847) Vespucci’s Dwarf-turris
Pyrgocythara hemphilli Bartsch and Rehder, 1939 Hemphill's Mangelia
Rubellatoma rubella Bartsch and Rehder, 1939 Red-brown Mangelia
Splendrillia moseri (Dall, 1889) Moser's Drillia
Boonea impressa  (Say, 1822) Impressed Odostome
Chrysallida nioba (Dall and Bartsch, 1911) Niobe Odostome
Cyclostremella humilis Bush, 1897 False Cyclostreme
Eulimastoma canaliculatum (C. B. Adams, 1850) Channeled Odostome
Eulimastoma weberi (Morrison, 1965) Weber’s Odostome
Fargoa buijsei (de Jong and Coomans, 1988) Buijse's Odostome
Odostomia acutidens Dall, 1884 Sharp-tooth Odostome
Turbonilla (Pyrgiscus) buteonis Bartsch, 1909 Hawk Turbonille
Turbonilla (Pyrgiscus) caroliniana Holmes, 1859 Incised Turbonille
Turbonilla (Pyrgiscus) wrightsvillensis E. Powell, 1981 Carolina Turbonille
Turbonilla (Pyrgiscus) viridaria Dall, 1884 Conrad's Turbonille
Acteon candens  Rehder, 1939 Rehder’s Baby-bubble
Rictaxis punctostriatus (C. B. Adams, 1840) Pitted Baby-bubble
Acteocina bidentata (d’Orbigny, 1841) Two-tooth Barrel-bubble
Acteocina canaliculata (Say, 1826) Channeled Barrel-bubble
Aplysia brasiliana Rang, 1828 Mottled Seahare
Diacavolinia deblainvillei van der Spoel, Bleeker, and Kobayasi, 1993 Longsnout Cavoline
Octopus vulgaris Lamarck, 1798 Common Octopus

Sunset Beach (USA: NC, Brunswick Co.) marine mollusks collected by Jo O'Keefe. Alphabetized by vernacular or lay name; 176 species -- I will update these lay names later.
Adams' Miniature Cerith
Alternate Tellin
Amnicola species
Angelwing
Angulate Wentletrap
Antillean Caecum
Antillean Fileclam
Atlantic Abra
Atlantic Assiminea
Atlantic Calico Scallop
Atlantic Giant Cockle
Atlantic Kittenpaw
Atlantic Nutclam
Atlantic Oyster Drill
Atlantic Pearl-oyster
Atlantic Semele
Atlantic Wing-oyster
Beal's Drillia
Bladed Wentletrap
Blood Ark
Brown-band Wentletrap
Brown-tip Mangelia
Bruised Nassa
Buijse's Odostome
Cancellate Ark
Carolina Gastrochaenid
Carolina Marshclam
Carolina Moonsnail
Carolina Turbonille
Cayenne Keyhole Limpet
Channeled Barrel-bubble
Channeled Duckclam
Channeled Odostome
Channeled Whelk
Charrua Mussel
Chestnut Mussel
Circular Chinese-hat
Common Atlantic Marginella
Common Jingle
Common Octopus
Concave Auger
Concentric Ervilia
Contracted Corbula
Convex Slippersnail

Corrugate Jewelbox
Crested Oyster
Cross-barred Venus
Cross-hatched Lucine
Cuneate Montacutid
Cut-ribbed Ark
Dark Cerith
Disk Dosinia
Dorvill's Mangelia
Dubious Sphenia
Dwarf Surfclam
Eastern Aligena
Eastern Auger
Eastern Banded Tulip
Eastern Mudsnail
Eastern Oyster
Eastern White Slippersnail
Eggcockle
Elongate Macoma
False Angelwing
False Cyclostreme
Fat Dovesnail
Fine-ribbed Wentletrap
Florida Dovesnail
Florida Pricklycockle
Florida Rocksnail
Florida Wormsnail
Fly-specked Cerith
Foliaceous Shipworm
Fringed Vitrinella
Giant Bittersweet
Giant Eastern Murex
Glassy Lyonsia
Glossy Vitrinella
Graceful Lepton
Gray Pygmy-venus
Greedy Dovesnail
Green Jackknife
Hawk Turbonille
Helix Vitrinella
Henscomb Hydrobe
Horse Conch
Humphrey's Wentletrap
Imperial Venus

Impressed Odostome
Incised Turbonille
Incongruous Ark
Interrupted Periwinkle
Knobbed Whelk
Lady-in-waiting Venus
Lateral Mussel
Lettered Olive
Lightning Whelk
Lineate Dovesnail
Little Coquina
Little Horn Caecum
Longsnout Cavoline
Lunar Dovesnail
Lunate Crassinella
Many-colored Tellin
Many-line Lucine
Many-ribbed Wentletrap
Marked Diplodon
Marsh Periwinkle
Miniature Moonsnail
Minor Jackknife
Moser's Drillia
Mossy Ark
Mottled Seahare
Mysella species B of Lee (2009)
Mysella species C of Lee (2009)
New England Wentletrap
Niobe Odostome
Northern Quahog
Pear Whelk
Pitted Baby-bubble
Pointed Crassinella
Pointed Nutclam
Ponderous Ark
Pure Mysella
Rainbow Tellin
Red-brown Mangelia
Rehder's Baby-bubble
Ribbed Cantharus
Ribbed-mussel
Rice Olive
Rosy Corbula
Sargassum Snail

Sawtooth Penshell
Scorched Mussel
Scotch Bonnet
Semismooth Wentletrap
Shark Eye
Sharp Eulima
Sharp Nassa
Sharp-tooth Odostome
Skenea sp. aff smithfieldensis (Olsson, 1916)
Slipper Limpet
Southern Horsemussel
Southern Quahog
Southern Surfclam
Spiny Slippersnail
Stiff Penshell
Stout Tagelus
Striate Tellin
Subovate Softshell
Sunray Venus
Surinam Strigilla
Sybaritic Tellin
Tellin Semele
Texas Tellin
Texas Vitrinella
Thick-lip Drill
Three-line Mudsnail
Threetooth Carditid
Tinted Cantharus
Transverse Ark
Trilix Vitrinella
True Tulip
Truncate Corbula
Two-tooth Barrel-bubble
Variable Coquina
Variable Dwarf Olive
Vespucci's Dwarf-turris
Weber's Odostome
Wedge Piddock
Well-ribbed Dovesnail
West Indian Dovesnail
West Indian Wormsnail
White Baby Ear
Wrinkled-rib Wentletrap
Yellow Pricklycockle

My system has become elaborate and complicated. Yours does not need to be this way. If you carry seaweed or sea drift back to your beach cottage, simply rinse it in a sieve (best) or colander. Then spread it on paper towels on the kitchen counter. Plug in a lamp next to it; perhaps remove the shade. You should find many animals.

1. Seaweed

For nearly two years I have been inspecting seaweed. My goal was to find microscopic animals to study and to save for researchers. When a man-made object such as fishing line or an elastic hair band is in the ocean, seaweed and egg cases get caught in it. Soon there is a big clump bursting with marine life -- exactly what I want. It is brimming with small gastropod shells with tiny hermit crabs residing within them. Amphipods called skeleton shrimp crawl on my fingers and hands. They look like thin beige sugar ants. There are numerous other animals such as sea spiders, barnacles, minute crabs, eggs, bryozoans, hydrozoans and portions of sponges.

I seldom walk in the ocean. The seaweed I find is on the beach or right at the edge of the water.

At home, before I begin inspecting seaweed, I place dishes to my right with ocean water in them. I dip my finger into the water to release the small animal or shell that I found. That lets brittle stars, amphipods, isopods and minute crabs live. Later I photograph live animals later through my microscope.

One evening I found 600 shells in seaweed. On another I found nearly one thousand shells. Almost all shells in seaweed are gastropods.

During the first year, I used only my hands and normal vision. Since June, 2008, I have used a 5X illuminating magnifier, the round circular magnifiers used on crime shows to examine evidence. It tremendously increased my ability to find items in the seaweed. I purchased professional forceps to be able to extract minute, fragile animals. Initially I was interested in tiny animals such as amphipods, isopods, worms, sea spiders and brittle stars. I saved them for scientists and photographed some for my website. Before long I realized that the seaweed contained numerous species of mollusks. It was then that I heard of Harry Lee who has partnered with me to identify the Shells of Sunset Beach.

I knowingly take home seaweed with small hermit crabs inside seashells because I am researching. After I spend up to four hours going to the beach, walking, and coming home, and then several more hours inspecting seaweed, the animals are not in good enough health to return to the ocean. Despite the demise of hermit crabs, I save mollusk shells for facilities that want micromollusk collections. Visitors staying at the beach who take seaweed to their cottages to inspect would be able to release the animals.

2. Sea Drift

I gather sea drift or debris at the ends of the "scallops" made by the lapping water at the eastern point of Sunset Beach. I put sea drift into containers with lids such as yogurt containers. Although Ziplock bags can be used, they increase the risk of breakage. At the beach I only collect sea drift. Inspection occurs at home.

Initially I used an 8-inch-wide child's plastic sieve, the type included in a net bag of beach toys. After filling the sieve, I carried it to the edge of the water and swished it back and forth to remove the sand. After that the shells stand out. I bring the same child's sieve on each trip even now to be able to demonstrate the wonders of sea drift to beachcombers.

Most Sunset Beacht sea drift is composed of worm tubes that can be discarded. Below is a photo of worm tubes. There are many Rainbow and Many-colored Tellins and Green Jackknife Clams in the sea drift. Sea drift has far more bivalves than gastropods. It has countless treats such as crab carapaces, tiny crabs and brittle stars.

A second type of sea drift looks like chards of broken shell. In it are countless minute mollusks -- shells. Shell debris is easier to rinse in sieves and inspect than the debris with worm tubes. There is less of it on the east end of Sunset Beach.

At home, I rinse the sea drift in a series of sieves ordered via the Internet. However, recently I purchased three inexpensive kitchen sieves with handles that work equally well.

I spread the material on several layers of newspaper to dry. A blow dryer on a low setting or a fan would help. One friend "roasts" his at a low temperature in his oven. I wait several days for it to dry before inspecting it.

As I described above, I use a 5X illuminating magnifier to inspect dry sea drift. An important addition is a solid, colored background. White will not work for shell debris. The item on which you inspect shells should be poster board or plastic -- not cloth. It can be the plastic lid of a bin used to bring items to your beach house. I pour a pile on the back edge of a 12 X 15 piece of dark posterboard and then gently move a small amount forward. Using my forceps, I separate it to find mollusks and other invertebrate animals. Any fine tool could be used.

Each time sea drift is handled, shells break. Minimize contact.

Dr. Harry Lee continues to identify the mollusks for me. I can never thank him for his months of patience and work. I have posted photos of many shells on this website. No shell more than one-fourth inch wide fits within the frame of my camera when I take a photo through my microscope. The photo of the Rainbow Tellin shown below demonstrates that. Rainbow Tellins are so thin that even when intact with both valves, the only way to pick them up at home is by wetting my finger. Below are photos of the sea drift that I examine and a Rainbow Tellin. You might be able to see pink tellins in the sea drift.

 

Jo O'Keefe Copyright 2010. Photos may be used for educational purposes only. Contact me with inquiries.

Below are some sample photos. You can see additional microscopic photos of micro shell at The Shells of Sunset Beach.

Epitonium humphreysii
Aceteocina canaliculata
Lunarca ovalis
   
   
Ilyanassa trivittata
Anadara transversa
Echinolittorina interrupta
   
   
Epitonium rupicola
Urosalpinx cinerea
Nassarius acutus
   
   
Musculus_lateralis
Olivella mutica
Lioberus castanea
   
   
Turbonilla caroliniana
Tectonatica pusilla
Olivella cf. prefloralia
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